Posted by on March 25, 2009 in Site Features, Website

I had posted previously about our new online Messages feature and I just wanted to give an update about some improvements we’ve made to it, largely based on your feedback.

The improvement I am most excited about is the addition of “Ancestor Links” in messages.  Some of the member trees on are private and to learn more about one of your ancestors that may be in the tree you need to contact the owner of the tree.  If you choose to do this, we will add a link in your message that goes to the ancestor you were interested in viewing.  This is what it looks like in the contact form:


(If you decide you don’t want to include the link for whatever reason just click on the ‘X’ next to the link.)

When the owner of the tree receives your message they will have the link to the person in their tree so that they can easily look at the ancestor you are asking about.  We’ll also include a link in the message that lets them easily invite you to their tree, if they decide to do that.  This is what it looks like to the person receiving the message:


In addition to adding the Ancestor Links, we’ve also made the following improvements:

  • We have increased the character limit for messages from 2,000 to 5,000 for those interested in sending longer messages
  • We have corrected an error that sometimes prevented some users with a smaller monitor resolution from scrolling down on the contact form to click the Send button
  • We have added some extra text in a few places within the Messages feature to better explain how some things work
  • We’ve also made a few other minor fixes based on feedback

We hope you continue to enjoy the Messages feature and that you are able to connect with many other members who are doing similar research.


  1. Linda Stanch

    I’m still getting somewhat hostile Obama deniers, those that may be related or researching the President’s maternal line, which is presumptively white, some back to Plymouth Rock and Jamestown. Can we have a well worded short article pointing out that to be related to the President is not to be linked to, Heaven forbid, some tawdry lineage. You would think anyone would be proud. Thank you.

  2. Barbara Wescott

    Nice Features. Hope this gets more people involved and chatting with common people with same interest. Had some luck with doing Dar Genealogy.

  3. Carolyn O'neal

    I have just started using the new message feature and wish there was another way to let someone know they have a message, say to their personal email address, instead of waiting for them to log in to check their ancestry inbox. Not everyone logs in everyday but they do check their personal email. So fustrating to try to contact someone and not getting a response because they do not know they have a message waiting.

  4. Melody

    I wish it were possible to get something when wanting to contact an owner of a public tree while browsing their tree. For instance, I’m looking at Bob in a public tree and it’s the same as the Bob in my tree. I’d like to ask the tree owner about Bob and wouldn’t it be great if the same linking info was available.

  5. David Graham

    I just wanted to quickly follow-up on a couple of the posts here.

    Just to clarify, we do still send an email notification whenever you receive a message from another user. The new online Messages adds to that notification an online notification in the header showing unread messages. This will help when notification emails have email delivery problems (e.g., getting a junk folder, etc.) or when they are simply lost among other email messages.

    The suggestion to include the Ancestor Links in other flows, such as when contacting someone about a public member tree, is a great one. This is definitely something we’re investigating as a possible future enhancement.

    Thanks again for trying the new Messages feature.

  6. Denise

    I like the fact that I can create a folder to save my incoming messages to. However, I can’t move my replies into my folders. If you receive a lot of messages, you are unable to manage the sent messages since you are unable to delete or move them. Adding the ability to move your sent messages to your folders would be great.

  7. Tom

    I agree with Denise. Also I would like to be able to empty or remove messages from the Deleted file. One other thing it would be nice to be able to make Sub Folders under the new folder thats created.

  8. Ene

    #10 Tom – Great idea on sub folders. Some files are more appropriate as sub files of a main subject or location folder. Also, I would like to be able to rearrange the order of my folders. When created, the folders can be alphabetized, but later additions can not. There is no way to insert them in a preferred sequence. Flexibility is needed here. Another thought is that the selections for “Sent” and “Deleted” should be located at the top of the page under “Inbox.” That would save scrolling to the bottom of the page each time to find sent mail. Why not take a look at email browser “favorites” or “bookmarks” for inspiration in consolidating/rolling up subfiles into major file categories. Thanks. Happy programming!

  9. Note: I like the Message System. Though, many days go by: Before I can answer them. Mainly because they appear in my Friends Free Account. Which, I merge all my Gedcom with her Gedcom to make up a Tree of over 140,000 names… Is their a way! a Co-owner of a Tree get notifications of messages incoming. When my Partner/Cousin/Friend is indisposed. Grieving of a Recent death in her family? Trying to stay on Top of things and it’s a little difficult. Thanks for understanding… Re: LMCB the big tree on

  10. Robertr McCausland

    I am completly frustrated by the inability to make my E-mail address visable with my family tree on Ancestry.Com !!!

    And why is my E-mail address repeatably striped from replys to messages from other Ancestry members (thru wishing to contact me about my ancestry tree?
    I assume that their attempts to send their E-mail addresses to me via
    Ancestrys “system” is also defeated.

    I have indicated that I wish my E-mail address to be publicly visable
    in “personal preferences”

    I have a valid World membership with
    Ancestry.Com and intensly dislike
    Ancestrys consistantly censoring my
    correspondence with other Ancestry

    Please let me know if this is a system that cannot be remedied as it is of primary importance to me.

    Thank you.
    Robert R McCausland ADCS

  11. Mattie B. Johnson

    Please find my Ancestors,my mother’s father name, her grandparent names.Carney,Jones.and Taylor.THEY All deceased.

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